If You Aren’t Building to Sell, You’re Running In Circles!! (Part 1)

It’s time to dive in with you to the wild and strange and fulfilling waters of exit planning… or building with the end in mind as I like to think of it.

Now, before you tune out and think, ‘Oh! This isn’t for me!’, I’m asking you to stay with this until the end because the B-I-G secret is that exit planning isn’t just for big businesses, and it isn’t even just for business – it’s for every one of us who want our lives to matter and mean something.

And I know that that is everyone here because you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want a meaningful, missional, miracle-filled, magical life, would you?

How does that work?

Exit planning is looking at ‘x’ (your life, your business, your marriage, your parenting, etc.) through the filter of “What will this be like at the end of this cycle?”

What will it look like in 5, 10, 20, 50 years?

It’s taking the long view and asking:

Will it matter? Will it last? Do I care? Why?

Those questions are where I always start my work with my clients because they have to care – deeply – about what they are building and have a Vision for it or they won’t be motivated enough to do the work that needs to be done to create a life / business that lasts and meets their needs now and in the future.

Make no mistake about it, this is deeply counter-cultural. We live in a world that encourages us to live for the moment – like the grasshopper, or even worse, to live through the lives of celebrities and sports figures and not pay any attention to our own lives at all.

Media asks us to be afraid ALL the time, to obsess over grisly, disturbing, and ultimately trivial details, to believe that everything is wrong and bad and violent, and that being active agents of change and goodness in our own lives is pointless and simply not worth the time, money, and energy we need to invest to create something amazing.

BrenĂ© Brown, in her brilliant work on shame and vulnerability, calls it numbing. And whether we numb with drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, sugar, or reality TV, we live in a culture obsessed with not being ‘present’ to the real at all costs.

Most people spend their lives running really hard and being really busy and having a LOT of drama because that is all they know to do. When your focus in on the details of ‘right now’ they get blown up into monstrously large atrocities that command all our attention. They become Drama, with a capital ‘D’.

Exit planning is all about getting up and out of the details and, like an osprey soaring high above the water, getting a new and larger perspective. We want to see beyond the current chaos to where this thing is headed and if we’re okay with the current direction or if we need to take action now to change that direction.

(Which, by the way, is another SUPER counter-cultural thing to do: to decide that you have responsibility for your life, that you have power in your life and that you can change your life… now.)

When I start working with my clients, one of the first steps is always ‘triage’ – where we put their biggest concerns and problems on the table to figure out what is ‘going on in there’ and then take quick, decisive action to ‘stop the bleeding’.

The employee issues, marriage issues, health issues – the things that keep us up at night and steal our joy… we look at those. We dig in and figure out plans of action to bring down the chaos and crisis level.

That’s triage. And it has to happen at the beginning, because it’s pretty much impossible to focus on building your dream when your world is falling apart. It might feel like it will take forever, but it’s usually just the first couple of months of our time together.

We bring the chaos into the light, make some decisions, create some new processes and systems, and then we keep moving.

Once we handle triage, we move on to the gap analysis, which I’ll talk about in Part 2.

Ready to radically transform the way you see the world?

Ready to wrap your hands around the tools of power and build a life that is truly extraordinary?

Ready to have it stop hurting so darn bad?

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